A leading GP who specialises in mental health in Pennine Lancashire is urging you to ‘Talk to Us’ during this month’s campaign led by the Samaritans.
Dr Rakesh Sharma, a GP in Hyndburn and the mental health clinical lead at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups explains how talking can help you look after your mental health.
He said: “The coronavirus pandemic has certainly been challenging for us all and it is perfectly understandable that the changes we have had to live through may affect your mental wellbeing. If you are feeling at all worried, isolated or overwhelmed, it’s important to know you’re not alone but at the same time equally important to seek help and talk to someone.
“There is lots of support available whether that be from your local NHS services or indeed online support. I really want everyone to remember that whilst some of the ways you can access health and wellbeing services, and the support they offer, has had to change due to social distancing requirements these services are still very much open for business, and people can, and should, continue to get in touch. The most important thing is that you don’t suffer alone or in silence.”
Every July, Samaritans branches across the UK hold local events to talk about the services they offer in the community. Talk to Us is one of the very important ways to raise awareness that they are here – for you or anyone else who needs someone to listen, 24/7, without feeling any judgement or pressure.
There are many simple steps to look after your mental health and wellbeing which include keeping to a routine, staying active, taking a break from news and social media if things are getting on top of you and keeping in touch with your family and friends.
You can access a free NHS-approved online tool, Every Mind Matters for support. Here you will find useful online links to help with your mental wellbeing while staying at home, tips if you are worried about coronavirus and advice to help with stress, anxiety, sleep and low mood. Be better prepared for life’s ups and downs, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
As part of Talk to Us, Samaritans hope that using the SHUSH listening tips, they will motivate the public to lend a helpful ear to friends, families and anyone else who may be struggling:
- Show you care: focus just on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone
- Have patience: it may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up
- Use open questions: that need more than a yes/no answer, & follow up e.g. ‘Tell me more’
- Say it back: to check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution
- Have courage: don’t be put off by a negative response and don’t be afraid to leave silence
Anyone can contact Samaritans from any phone, even if you have no credit, on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website https://www.samaritans.org/ to find details of your nearest branch.
For a list of mental health support resources in Lancashire and South Cumbria please visit: https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/mentalhealthsupport